Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Winning Never Gets Old, Losing is Never Easy
2007-02-08 05:09
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Anthony McCarron has a piece on Derek Jeter in the News today:

Jeter resumed baseball activities three weeks ago for the first time since the end of the season. It's a way to put the disappointment in the past.

"It takes a long time to get over it. That's what people don't realize," Jeter said as several Yankee prospects took batting practice nearby. "It's a whole year you've played. The worst phrase in all of sports is saying, 'Ah, get them next year.' Well, next year is another 12 months. It's not like you're going to have the opportunity to play forever.

"Every year that goes by is one less year on your career, so it takes awhile to get over it. But that's what makes spring training so fun. Everyone starts over."

Jeter admits that it would be odd not playing with Bernie Williams anymore.

Also in the News, a feature on Yankee youngster Dellin Betances.

2007-02-08 05:43:05
1.   mikeplugh
Yes, leadoff.

I wrote up a little thing about Dellin Betances too. He's my favorite prospect, by far. BK in the house baby!!

2007-02-08 05:49:40
2.   Dan M
"It takes a long time to get over it."

Was he talking about the Tigers series, or Jessica Biel ditching him for Justin Timberlake?

2007-02-08 06:41:56
3.   Rich
Betances put on 15 lbs. and his velocity is supposedly reaching 96 mph! Hot!
2007-02-08 07:05:34
4.   Jim Dean
1 Thanks for the video plugh at COH.

His motion looks a bit effortful, especially at the end, no?

Makes me wonder about Mo and how he learned to be so relaxed in his delivery.

Betances does look legit, but I'd like to see a solid year at Tampa before I get too excited. Still, 2009 with a Mo 2.0 for 7 and 8 would be fun.

2007-02-08 07:17:41
5.   mikeplugh
5 I thought the same thing, but I believe that video is old. I think it was a scouting video of his draft era delivery. He's supposedly simplified it under the tutelage of the Yankee pitching gurus, and is on his way to very nice mechanics.
2007-02-08 07:37:55
6.   The Mick 536
What is, pardon my ignorance, the Brooklyn Grand Street campus?

Check out the Daily News Blog referred to at the end of the Jeter article. Baseball in Ghana. Winfield and Dusty and Omar and friends. Handing out uniforms to the Prime Minister, President, and American Ambassador. Worrying about juiced fruit bats. Learning the culture.

Can't give thumbs up (culturally prohibited signal). Can't use left hand to eat. Will be fun watching the third base coaches.

They spray DEET to kill bird sized mosquitos. Pass the pine tar and the insect repellent, please. Could come down with Malaria or some other insect transmitted disease. Does the term Cutters mean anything to you? Doesn't sound like fun to me.

Mrs. Jackson goes shopping. Great u-tube.

Can you picture a game. "I got it. I got it." The infielders look into the sky. The ball strikes a bat. The injured bat's buddies attack. Game called on account of guano.

2007-02-08 08:10:48
7.   vockins
It's a collection of high schools in one building in East Williamsburg. I know the High School for Legal Studies is there, but I can't imagine that school fills the place.

Betances used to be the doorman at Club Luxx, and I think he played bass in Fischerspooner for a couple of months.

2007-02-08 08:16:47
8.   vockins
7 is a response to 6, whoops.
2007-02-08 08:22:51
9.   ChrisS
4 speaking of Mo, here's Mark Teixeira:

Teixeira breaks the toughest pitchers to hit into three categories: right-handed starter (Roy Halladay), left-handed starter (Johan Santana) and reliever (Mariano Rivera).

"I know what he's going to throw, and I know where he's going to throw it," Teixeira said of Rivera, against whom he is 1-for-9 lifetime.

"And every time I swing I either hit it 80 feet foul or break my bat."

I never get tired of hearing that.

2007-02-08 08:48:19
10.   yankz
9 I'll never forget one day in (I believe) 2005 where Mo struck out Soriano, Blalock, and Teixeira, 3 up 3 down, to end the game. It was amazing. Almost as that Arod comeback homer off Schilling game, where he struck out Damon, Nixon, and Fat Papi, 3 up 3 down, to end the game.
2007-02-08 08:57:01
11.   Bama Yankee
6 "Game called on account of guano."

LOL. That's a good one, Mick.

2007-02-08 09:55:23
12.   bp1
10 That Red Sox game is one of my all time faves - the way it ended. When Mo is dealing, it's just jaw dropping to watch. The up-the-ladder strikeout of Papi was amazing.

(Quietly whispers a prayer that we will be able to enjoy that sort of thing for a couple more seasons)

2007-02-08 10:17:36
13.   yankz
12 Amen. A couple more? I'm loudly praying for a dozen more. The first 50 year old closer.
2007-02-08 10:38:52
14.   JL25and3
13 Wilhelm came close. He got his last save less than three months before his 50th birthday, his last appearance within 3 weeks of it. And that's assuming he wasn't lying about his age...
2007-02-08 10:51:27
15.   ny2ca2dc
From the Boston Globe article ( thanks Pete Abe) on the Sox's question marks:

"While the Sox would like to see free agent Joel Pineiro emerge as the closer, Francona also will consider three other veteran righthanders: Julian Tavarez (Francona said he was OK after a mild sprained ankle in winter ball), Brendan Donnelly, and Mike Timlin.
"I have some ideas how it's going to unfold," Francona said. "The four righthanders, we'll sit down and talk to them individually and as a group when I get down there and explain to them that those are the four veteran guys that we want to see throw some innings late in games.""

Is anyone looking forward to the Sox blowing games late, a la Fausto Carmona last year! Payback! TAVAREZ as a closer candidate!

2007-02-08 11:29:23
16.   Jim Dean
Any question that Klapish is a hack should be removed by:

"Julio Lugo, the incoming shortstop, is a better defender than predecessor Alex Gonzalez..."

I don't think I've seen a dumber statement from a writer this off-season.

2007-02-08 11:38:06
17.   Shaun P
16 I imagine at least LA-area sportswriter must have written an article praising Ned Colletti for signing Juan Pierre to that horrible contract. That would be equally dumb, maybe dumber.

Way off topic:

BP's Kevin Goldstein says, during the A-Rod trade, the Rangers chose Joaquin Arias as the Yankee prospect they wanted over Robinson Cano. Lucky for us, huh?

2007-02-08 11:47:28
18.   Jim Dean
17 Very true. I'm going to check with the Dodgers Thoughts crew.

The D'Backs also supposedly passed on Wang and Cano in Unit 1.0

2007-02-08 12:55:03
19.   jkay
Hot snowboarding action in Union Square today....

Snowboarding in the Heart of New York City

2007-02-08 15:12:07
20.   OldYanksFan
There is a nice write-up on Alberto Gonzalez at:
Is this is accurate, I suspect this is why Cashman signed Miggy (1 yr, 750k, yes Jim... I'm talking to you), as Alberto seems ready to step in as a UIF as soon as it's deemed necessary.
2007-02-08 15:34:41
21.   Jim Dean
20 You really want to get me started again?

Chris Gomez: 115 OPS+ in 2006 - 850k/1 year
Damion Easley: 83 OPS+ in 2006 - 850k/1 year

It wasn't about the contract. They have an infatuation with Cairo that his 59 OPS+ in 2006 should have cured, especially after his 64 OPS+ in 2005.

For the same money they could have gotten something more useful than the absolute bottom of the MLB barrel.

It's an indefensible signing. Please stop trying.

And bringing up Alberto does make me reflect on what they should have gotten instead...

2007-02-08 16:14:09
22.   Zack
Personally, and lets be honest, this is all what we think personally, I would rather not have any of those three guys on my team. If the season, or any game for that matter, comes down to the Yankees having ot play Cairo instead of Gomez or Easley, well, shoot, I think that game was probably lost for other reasons. The difference in whatever it is any of those players have offered over their careers, which is what you really have to look at, is so minimal, and the likelihood of that difference being what makes the difference in a game, a season, or whatever, is so miniscule that I prefer not to get worked up about it or call it "indefensible." What would be indefensible would be Torre somehow letting ANY of those three guys play enough to make a difference...

On another note, how bizarre is the whole Anna Nicole Smith thing? Weird and sad I suppose...

2007-02-08 16:41:58
23.   mikeplugh
I think the Cairo signing is almost indefensible. There is a short argument that goes something like this:

He plays above average defense at second and at least league average at short. He's a skilled baserunner who sports a very good career steal percentage, and knows how to do the little things to succeed on the basepaths. The things that a veteran who can still run a little has over his less experienced peers. He's a familiar face that fits in well in the workplace, which we all can understand in our own situations. You like a guy. You hope to see him around when you get to work. Things are hunky dory.

That's about it. Virtually everything else is a negative. I can't get worked up over our utility infielder situation, as I think it doesn't matter a lick, but I would prefer to see a younger guy with more upside get a chance at that role.

As for Anna Nicole Smith, I'm not sure why it's weird or shocking. A lot of the news stories express shock. Isn't it painfully obvious that she was a heavily drug dependent person with major psychological issues? I'm sad to say that I expected this to happen. There was little doubt in my mind that she'd die young. That may seem harsh, but the way we have become voyeurs into people's personal lives, especially equally complicit exhibitionist celebrities, it takes the shock out of it.

2007-02-08 17:06:08
24.   Cliff Corcoran
16 Actually, I think Klap is right about Lugo vs. Gonzalez, the latter is massively overrated.
2007-02-08 18:01:30
25.   Zack
23 I would love to see a younger guy too, but 1) Knowing Torre he would just rot on the bench, trotted out once every few weeks to inevitably look rusty and remind Joe that he doesn't want to play him and 2) we don't seem to have a kid either ready to force Joe's hand or worth wasting on the bench. Hopefully someone steps up.

And as messed up as ANS was, she was still only 39, anytime someone dies suddenly its shocking, at least to me. Sure, it wson't surprise me if she is found to have died of an OD, but her actual death is still somewhat shocking. Not to say that I am heartbroken or really care all that much...Oh well...

And as for Klap, I noticed in that side bar he continued the annoying and poitnless tradition of bringing up DM and the gyroball

2007-02-08 18:13:10
26.   mikeplugh
25 I think Klapisch brings up the gyroball because it's been a bit of a convseration point recently in various places. It was a CNNSI special piece written by a guy who does Japan-related articles, and then I wrote about it at Matsuzaka Watch with Will Carroll.

Attention is being raised at the top organizational levels around baseball about the pitch. Trust me. It's real, and teams are looking to study it and add it to their pitcher's aresenal. It was once thought to be a matter of 5-10 years before this happened, but I am going to guess that it will be a lot less. One or two MLB teams are going to ramp up the work on the gyroball within one to two years.

DM may in fact throw some version of it, but it hardly matters. It's a nice breaking ball, not Bugs Bunny's "silly pitch". Matsuzaka is a great pitcher, with or without a secret weapon. I think he could dominate with the fastball and slider he has, and nothing else.

2007-02-08 19:27:39
27.   Jim Dean
24 Wow. Last year Gonzalez wasn't. And that's what the Sox fans will remember each time Lugo boots one.

Over their careers, it still looks like Gonzalez has the edge esp. since he found his glove in 2003 (he was terrible before that). He's been at least average since (sure, over rated though).

But Lugo, Cliff? Can I get some of that fine herb you've been smoking?

What are the RATE stats? This should be easy. Anyone?

22 Sorry man. If the race comes down to one or two games, then it could very well be the difference - more if Cairo plays more. Why make that choice - for 13 lousy stolen bases?

23 Easley is that guy too, except for the stolen bases. Still, he at least gives something with the bat - he gets on base more, slugs more, and is the same fielder.

Damn, it shouldn't be that hard to find a UIF. This guy is going to drive me nuts all year.

2007-02-08 19:45:34
28.   markp
I agree with Mr Dean about the back-up IF. There's no excuse in 2007, nor was there any in other seasons when better options were available.
2007-02-08 21:00:21
29.   yankz
This guy makes a big deal out of all the A-rod stories, and doesn't realize he's part of the problem.
2007-02-08 21:00:51
30.   yankz
I realize that me posting that just made me part of the problem as well. I hope the A-rod saga ends here.
2007-02-08 21:16:30
31.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Cliff's right. Agon is a poor fielding ss, despite all the oohs and ahhs from Sawx fans last season.

His career RATE is 95. Last season he had a 96. Only one year in his career has he been above avg. Face it, the guy makes our Jete look like the 2nd coming of Ozzie Smith. And ask yourself, if A-gon was such a hotshot w/ the glove why didn't the Sawx resign him?

Lugo meanwhile has a career 102 RATE at ss, and he;s been much better than that in recent seasons -- the career number is dragged down by some subpar seasons w/ Houston early in his career. Indeed, his last full season at ss -- 156 g for Tampa in 05, he had a 112 RATE.

He's far superior to AGon w/ the glove.

2007-02-08 22:27:06
32.   JimCobain
18 As for RJ trade 1.0, that trade would have been trading deadline 2004 and meant the Yanks would have almost definately beaten the Red Sox in the playoffs that year, changing history. Here's the question... do make the trade knowing you could have played in another world series, or do you keep the youth? I think the Cashman of today would gamble and not make the trade. Me, it's a real noodle bender, but I would probably make the trade... Thoughts?
2007-02-09 03:13:16
33.   Jim Dean
31 I'm going to react strongly to your choice of adjectives, even as I don't know if you're reacting strongly to my own.

Now I know why people don't like the defensive statistics. You're right (Cliff and Klap too) if you're using RATE. From the numbers, Lugo seems to get to more balls than Gonzalez but you take that conclusion too far.

But let's destruct your adjectives. if by "poor" you mean "better than Jeter" (who's improved significantly with A-Rod on his right) then, okay he's "poor".

As for Lugo being "far superior", it's much closer than that. And I'll answer your question with a question (though the Sox wanted more offense, especially if they thought they were trading Manny). If Lugo were such a great SS, then why do teams move him all over the diamond? An above average SS that can also hit above average are true commodities. Why isn't he treated as such?

I think it has something to do with his errors. To wit (and yes I know the problem with errors, just bear with me):

Lugo (Games E DP)
2000 60 12
2001 133 22
2002 84 8
2003 129 20
2004 143 25
2005 156 24
2006 80 16

1998 25 2
1999 135 27
2000 104 19
2001 142 26
2002 42 3
2003 150 16
2004 158 16
2005 124 16
2006 111 7

The difference with RATE is that Lugo does seem to get to more balls (as does Jeter now that he can cheat up the middle).

The problem for Lugo is that when he goes bad, he "looks" really bad even if he's still getting to balls. Witness last year when Lugo was basically treated as a UIF. Why? Because in 73 games at SS before the trade he made 14 errors. Those stand out.

So it's back to the old argument about defense - what do you really value?

The perception of Sox fans will matter because they thought Gonzalez was excellent (even if he was average). And Lugo won't leave the same impression. We'll have to wait and see.

2007-02-09 03:16:23
34.   Jim Dean
32 It's tough because we've seen Unit in the playoffs for the Ynks. Is he THAT guy or the throwback in 2004? Maybe coming over in a trade changes the expectations? Or increases them?

A noodle bender indeed.

Where did you find out about that different offer at the trading deadline?

2007-02-09 06:21:19
35.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
C'mon dude. 1 of my points is that not only is he not better than Jeter, whom most consider not a good fielder, but he's been in the past few seasons significantly worse.

The Sawx had a chance to improve at ss both w. the glove and the bat, and they did so, significantly, in both aspects of the game. I mean there's a huge difference btwn a 112 and a 96 RATE. And I think the Sawx know this -- unlike their fans. Congrats to them.

(Does it matter if an error is made on a play or that it just scoots through w/o you getting leather on the ball? Either way its a baserunner, right?)

2007-02-09 06:27:15
36.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
I should note as well Jim that discerning Sawx fans knew this last season despite the hype for Boston's "best-fielding" infield ever in the Globe, (N)ESPN, et al. There was quite a good thread on Sawx fielding at Sons of Sam Horn last season where they came to a similar conclusion about AGOn.
2007-02-09 07:11:26
37.   Jim Dean
You didn't answer my question. The fact is: if he's a true commodity at SS (above average on both sides of the ball) why isn't he treated as such? By his teams? In trades? In a free agent contract?

But I think you're over relying on RATE (especially that one season). It's all good - it's been a learning exercise to my about why everyone seems to hate the defensive metrics.

By June the articles about Lugo defense will come. And who knows whether they're right or not. But they will come. One more Sox misery to enjoy from afar!

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